Roast Chicken with Barley & Vegetables

Liz Alpern, co-founder of the Gefilteria introduces this recipe: This dish makes for a fragrant meal that is unique enough for Friday night and simple enough for a weekday evening. While roast chicken is a classic centerpiece on the contemporary Jewish table, the earthiness of the mushrooms and barley in this recipe give it a decidedly Old World feel.


¾ cup pearl barley
1 dried bay leaf
3½ teaspoons kosher salt, plus more as needed
4 scallions, coarsely chopped
1 pound mixed fresh mushrooms, coarsely chopped
3 tablespoons olive oil or schmaltz (page 35)
2 garlic cloves, minced
¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2½ to 3 pounds chicken pieces, cleaned and patted dry
¼ cup coarsely chopped fresh parsley, plus more for garnish
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar

1. In a medium pot, combine the barley, bay leaf, and 1 teaspoon of the salt. Add enough water to cover the barley by 2 inches. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to low and simmer for 18 to 20 minutes, until the barley is half cooked but still al dente. Strain and remove the bay leaf. Toss the barley with the scallions, mushrooms, and 2 tablespoons of the olive oil or schmaltz. It may seem like too many mushrooms, but they will shrink in the oven. 

2. Preheat oven to 425ºF. 

3. Combine the remaining 2½ teaspoons salt, the garlic, and the pepper. Rub the mixture on the chicken pieces, getting it between the skin and the flesh if possible. Place the chicken pieces on a baking sheet, skin side up. Drizzle with the remaining 1 tablespoon oil or schmaltz. On a separate baking sheet, spread out the barley-mushroom mixture in an even layer. 

4. Transfer both baking sheets to the preheated oven and roast for 25 to 30 minutes, until the barley is cooked through and the chicken is evenly colored when sliced in the thickest part. You can also test the internal temperature, which should register 165ºF when done. 

5. Transfer the chicken to a plate and pour any juices from the baking sheet onto the barley-mushroom mixture. Add the parsley and vinegar to the mixture and stir to combine. Taste and season with additional salt if necessary. Serve the chicken pieces with a heaping portion of the barley-mushroom mixture. Garnish with additional parsley.

Excerpted from the book THE GEFILTE MANIFESTO by Jeffrey Yoskowitz & Liz Alpern. Copyright © 2016 by Gefilte Manifesto LLC. Reprinted with permission from Flatiron Books. All rights reserved. Photography by Lauren Volo.

Booklet Section: Symbolic New Year Foods